$100,000 in bribes helped fraudulent Amazon sellers earn $100 million, DOJ says

A pile of Amazon boxes in front of the door of a house.

Enlarge / Amazon packing containers. (credit score: Getty Photos | Julie Clopper)

Six individuals have been indicted on allegations of paying over $100,000 in bribes to Amazon workers and contractors as a part of a scheme to present third-party sellers unfair benefits on the Amazon market. Amongst different issues, the indictment says that Amazon employees who accepted bribes reinstated sellers whose accounts had been suspended for providing harmful merchandise, and these employees suspended the vendor accounts of fraudulent sellers’ rivals.

The US Division of Justice right this moment introduced the indictment handed down by a grand jury within the Western District of Washington. The “defendants paid bribes to not less than ten completely different Amazon workers and contractors,” the DOJ mentioned. In a single case, a 31-year-old defendant named Nishad Kunju “accepted bribes as a seller-support affiliate in Hyderabad, India, earlier than changing into an outdoor advisor who recruited and paid bribes to his former colleagues,” the DOJ mentioned.

In trade for bribes, Amazon employees “baselessly and fraudulently conferred tens of hundreds of thousands of {dollars} of aggressive advantages upon tons of of [third-party] vendor accounts that the Defendants presupposed to symbolize,” the indictment mentioned. The DOJ mentioned that employees “helped reinstate merchandise and service provider accounts that Amazon had suspended or blocked completely from doing enterprise on the Amazon Market” and that “the fraudulently reinstated merchandise included dietary dietary supplements that had been suspended due to customer-safety complaints, family electronics that had been flagged as flammable, shopper items that had been flagged for intellectual-property violations, and different items.” These fraudulently reinstated vendor accounts included ones Amazon had “suspended for manipulating product evaluations to deceive shoppers, making improper contact with shoppers, and different violations of Amazon’s vendor insurance policies and codes of conduct,” the DOJ mentioned.

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